The Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) has systematically pursued a strategy to establish a Center of Excellence that integrates leading-edge discovery science with a mission-based focus on addressing health disparities in the minority communities MSM serves. Over the course of the past ten years, tremendous progress has been made toward fulfilling the vision of creating a multi-disciplinary portfolio incorporating basic, translational, clinical and population science. The innovative and compelling research projects below are some of the highlights that have advanced the development of CVRI into a preeminent minority serving institution Center of Excellence.
Minority Health Genomics and Translational Research Bio-Repository Database (MH-GRID) Network: A Genomics Resource for Health Disparity ResearchThe Minority Health Genomics and Translational Research BIo-Repository Database (MH-GRID) Network infrastructure is established to facilitate the development of: 1) biorepository infrastructure via the ascertainment of biospecimens and 2) biomedical informatics capacity via the collection of multidimensional data elements and the tracking of patient outcomes in an electronic health records (EHRs)-linked data warehouse within a consortium of minority-serving clinics. This initiative is emerging as a novel national asset that expands the diversity of bio-ancestral groups represented in genomic medicine cohorts across the US. It provides a platform for ‘virtual’ disease registries across a range of ‘health disparity conditions’, and will accelerate the translation of ‘personalized medicine’ into minority communities. The MH-GRID program has three major elements 1) establishment of a collaborative network platform that links minority-serving clinics with collaborative genomics/ informatics expertise across the nation (University of Washington, Emory, Stanford, Baylor) ; 2) the creation of a network-based mechanism of data sharing through biorepositories and bioinformatics and 3) a ‘use-case’ collaborative project designed to define the genetic determinants of severe hypertension in African-Americans.
Vascular Epigenome Dynamics in African-American Hypertensives
This clinical-translational research project is a natural extension of similar epigenomic analysis of hypertensive vasculopathy conducted in animal models of hypertension. This project involves a cross-disciplinary collaboration seeks to define the dynamic changes in the vascular epigenome in hypertensive African Americans in response to treatment with angiotensin receptor blockade. This study holds promise for making a link between drug responsiveness and epigenomics in different patient populations.
Morehouse-Emory Partnership to reduce CVD Disparities (METAHealth)
The METAHealth study documented that African Americans exhibit higher levels of vascular ‘stiffness’ (as measured by the augmentation index) compared to whites even after adjustment for conventional risk. The greatest disparity in vascular ‘stiffness’ was observed in the sub-group of African Americans without risk factors. The higher level of vascular dysfunction in African Americans was associated with higher levels of biomarkers of oxidative stress compared to whites.
Morehouse Training Program in Cardiovascular Sciences: NHLBI Minority Institutional Research Training Program
The intent of this award is to provide basic and population-based cardiovascular related research training to pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students. CVRI’s NIH T32 Training Program generated trainees who have continued their success at prestigious academic institutions, government agencies and industry.
Cardiovascular Health Research Program (CHRP)
This program sought to enhance a novel integrative approach to cardio and cerebrovascular disease related research by facilitating institution-wide, multi-disciplinary research collaborations within the MSM community as well as our regional partners.